So far so good on this young season. We are going to keep on being judicious about how many games we isolate and keep on looking for the greatest mismatches. I can live with a 7-3 start, and like some of the past weeks, there is definitely a theme to the selections this week. We are starting to get into the dog days of the season and teams are separating and there are a number of NFL clubs who already in their hearts know that this season is over.
Yeah they can play for individual glory and play for incentives and play for their next contract but in terms of being a meaningful and competitive football team with collective goals, well that’s over. In some places more pathetically than others. That is an incredibly deflating place to be in early October yet it is the reality for some NFL clubs. And I don’t believe that Vegas is factoring in that mental aspect and the physical fatigue that will start to set in nearly enough as these teams deal with being blown out week after week and having certain units on the field much longer than they should be.
With that in mind, here are the three games that stand out to me most in Week 5.
Sure the Titans got exposed a little bit last week playing that overtime game against the Jets. And yeah I have reservations about their offensive line. And their ability to protect. But they are healthier at the wide receiver position this week and no team is reeling the way the Jags are. Jacksonville is not a professional operation right now, at least not by NFL standards and it is going to show in this game. Nobody on that roster is rallying behind Urban Meyer.
The Jags can’t make in-game adjustments, they have nothing going for them right now and their defense is going to have its hands full with Derrick Henry. The Jags get worse as the games go on and the Titans will get their play-action stuff going here. Harold Landry will have some fun with the Jags’ offensive line and the fans will be ready to turn on Meyer.
This is the perfect bounce-back spot for Tennessee and it will take advantage. Mike Vrabel knows how to inspire and rally the men and the Titans know that the road to winning this pathetic division requires them to fully take advantage of situations like that. They will prosper.
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Yes the AFC South is terrible and yes the Texans may be the worst of the bunch. Their days of being plucky overachievers are well over. No Tyrod Taylor meant the end of their competitive ways. Davis Mills will struggle mightily against the Bill Belichick defense as all rookie quarterbacks do.
Matt Judon is a destructive force and he will wreak havoc in this game. Mac Jones can manage New England to a solid 24 points here and the Texans aren’t scoring more than 10. I’m still not sold on New England’s offense but it can play ball control in this game and can win handily with a conservative keep-it-simple-stupid philosophy. Things are getting very bleak for the Texans and everybody in that locker room knows that a sell-off is coming at the trade deadline.
The Lions are a lot like the Texans. They played over their heads for a few weeks and showed better than people thought they might and they were exhibiting a lot of extra effort for their head coach. But that was then and this is now. The Vikings have too much talent and this game means too much to them for it not to be lopsided. Yes Kirk Cousins started turning the ball over again last week but this Lions defense won’t be able to duplicate that.
Specifically, Detroit’s woeful secondary is ripe to be exposed here and Dalvin Cook is healthier than he’s been in a few weeks. I do worry about guys like Will Harris penetrating some and giving Cousins some issues here and there but this is a chance for the Vikings to flex their muscles and get a blowout win and I believe they have the offensive firepower to do just that.